While the end of the year compels many of the “biggest” and “best” in Seattle dining, living alongside all that is the “shiniest.” In the Instagram era, the following dishes stood out for being both camera-friendly and wildly appetizing. Whether it was a cereal-caked brunch item or an iconic fried chicken sandwich, here’s the food that captured the city’s hearts and likes in 2019.Read More
10 Seattle Dishes That Became Stars in 2019, Mapped
From Instagram famous mochi doughnuts to cheesy khachapuri, and more
Cereal French toast from Watson's Counter
Korean flavors enliven the menu at Watson’s Counter, a new Ballard cafe and restaurant that was one of best new brunches in the city this year. Among the fan favorites: cereal-topped French toast, which has the perfect combination of crunchiness and sweetness (without going too over the top). No need for that extra syrup.
Mango bingsoo from Snowy Village
This Korean chain — which opened a U District outpost in September — serves up all-milk shaved ice with various toppings (bingsoo) and fish-shaped pastries (taiyaki), all designed to look great on social media. The bingsoo comes in three sizes and the shop has a long list of toppings, from fruit to cookies to red bean, most appealing during warmer months, despite the restaurant’s name evoking a winter wonderland.
Chirashi bowl from Fremont Bowl
The “bowl” in the name of this Fremont favorite refers to the restaurant’s many donburi (rice bowl) dishes, including tonkatsu, short ribs, and sukiyaki. But the main draw is the reasonably priced chirashi-don, which features a generous portion of tuna, yellowtail, albacore, salmon, eel, shrimp, fatty tuna scrapings, and flying fish roe — all served with a flair for color coordination.
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Squid ink fried rice from Paju
Among the modern takes on Korean food at this new Queen Anne restaurant is the satisfyingly squid ink fried rice dish topped with a quail egg. It arrives on the plate like an abstract work of art, speckles of color — and a sunny center — amidst the black. And the flavors mingle perfectly together, with a blend of smokiness and umami.
Khachapuri from Dacha Diner
This Capitol Hill restaurant is known for its signature khachapuri, a Georgian bread and cheese dish that’s rare in Seattle. The wonderfully decadent item comes topped with an egg, and is worth waiting out the 20-minute bake time for those looking for excellent Eatern European comfort food.
Hand ripped noodles from Xi'an Noodles
The secret has long been out about Xian’s wide biang biang noodles, made from scratch every day at the restaurant’s original U District location. But this year, Xi’an entered expansion mode, opening up a new outpost at Westlake Center Downtown, raising the hand-pulled noodles’ profile even higher. Must-try dishes include the spicy cumin lamb or simply the hot chili oil offering.
Yin Yang hot pot at Chengdu Memory
Typical of the Seattle area’s burgeoning hot pot scene, Chengdu Memory’s menu includes a variety of meat selections, fish balls, vegetables, tofu, and mushrooms that diners can order a la carte or in combination platters. But the yin yang dishware gives diners an eye-catching visual for the fiery experience. There’s also the option of adding a bear figurine made of beef tallow for a richer flavor.
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Soft-shell crab bao from Momosan Seattle
Though “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto’s flashy new restaurant in the International District focuses mainly on ramen and yakitori, these fried soft shell crab appetizer have stood out for its somewhat ostentatious presentation. They’re also delightfully crispy, with a hint of heat from the spicy mayo on top.
Mochi doughnuts from Dochi
This small stand has been drawing long lines at its Uwajimaya outpost in the Chinatown International-District ever since the summer. The reason? Delicate, chewy mochi-doughnut hybrids that come with seasonal flavors, including ube glaze, matcha Oreo, and Viet coffee red velvet. The Tiffany’s-like blue boxes lend to the camera readiness.
Local fried chicken sandwiches, like the one from Ma'ono
This was the year fast food fans went bonkers for fried chicken sandwiches, thanks in part to all the Popeyes hype. But Seattle has plenty of excellent local iterations that have been around for years — and Ma’aono in West Seattle may just be the crown jewel of them all. The prep alone on these birds is legendary, as they’re brined, dredged, and double-fried before being served up on toasted King’s Hawaiian buns.